Most of my clients…and many of my business colleagues, believe that my “secret” profession is bookseller.

I’m always recommending a book (or usually a chapter or two of a book) or sending them a Harvard Business Review article or citing the line from a recent Fortune business column I’ve read because of an issue or problem that they’re having that’s come to my attention.

In the last few months, three books have been high on my list of recommended readings – I’ve easily given away two dozen copies (if not more) to business people and CEO’s with the words, “Just read chapter [fill in the blank]…”. Or, if in one case because the client is in Europe, I scanned the chapter and sent it to him via email with the words, “You have to read this!”

So for those of you who I haven’t seen or spoken with, and have missed my onslaught – here’s my reco’s – and depending on what your challenge and / or focus is for 2012 – Pick Your Poison!

For those of you with a #1 Goal this year around PEOPLE, whether it’s finding and recruiting the right people…

or developing the ones that you have

or doing a better job of keeping the “virtual bench” full…

– definitely check out “Who” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.

Geoff is part of the father/ son team of Brad and Geoff Smart who developed TopGradingat General Electric and “WHO” does a fabulous job of “codifying” the code of TopGrading, basically giving you a recipe to sourcing, recruiting, interviewing and developing an “A” team. I found chapters 2 and 4 to be particularly helpful especially the part about developing a position scorecard and the Four-step Interview process which when applied properly results in a 90% success rate for new hires – that’s better than 3x the average results most businesses get.

If your challenge this year is better Fiscal Management, Increasing Profitability and Generating more CASH,

Check out Greg Crabtree’s wonderfully simple and to-the-point book,“Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits!”

Greg is a CPA, an EO’er and has run a highly successful accounting firm in Alabama for a couple of decades advising the small and mid-market to “see beyond the numbers”. I especially likedChapter 2 – on why 10% profit is the new ZERO and – for those of you less than $10Million in revenue – definitely check out Chapter 3 about“Surviving the Black Hole”.

And for those of you who have been working diligently to bring your STRATEGY up to snuff…

and haven’t picked up a copy of “Great By Choice”, Jim Collins’ new book,

download it NOW and read Chapter 6 where he introduces the concept of a SMaC recipe…

a key component to develop as a part of creating a durable strategy.

The word “SMaC” stands for Specific, Methodical and Consistent and according to Collins’ is a set of durable operating practices that create a replicable and consistent success formula for your business. It turns strategic concepts into reality and is a more enduring set of practices than mere tactics. In the Appendix you can find examples from the highly successful companies that he studied of the SMaC’s that have propelled them including ones from Southwest, Microsoft, Intel and Progressive Insurance. Very helpful for those of you who are working to really codify what you’re doing and make it durable.

And…Make sure to SAVE THE DATE!

Our 6th Annual Growth Strategies Breakfast is coming on March 16th – Invites coming shortly!